Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Changing subject pronto

Okay, enough about Murray. As I was laying in bed sleeplessly last night, I was thinking about the great pitching performance of King Felix and then my thoughts drifted to the playoff races and what the success factors are for teams that are in the race. Specifically, what has a greater effect on a team's chances - injuries or performance (good or bad) outlier seasons (i.e., who would have thought Jon Garland would put up the numbers he has).

Sure in the case of the Sox and Yanks, where both are expected to make the playoffs, there are other teams that don't have the depth and accordingly need things to "fall into place."

Like the White Sox - Sure Beurhle was on his way to being a top pitcher, but they got excellent performances from some less heralded pitchers.

The Twins were expected to win the Central but had a slow start from Johan and a disappointing season from Morneau and (less so) Mauer, as well as some of their other bats. And then Hunter got injured.

Or the A's - they are struggling a bit with Crosby's latest injury - but what if Chavez and Zito did not suck for two months? Or Dotel did not go down for the season. which of these has had a greater impact? Maybe the A's could be 5 up by now. Or 10 down if Finely hit like Finley.

I know this is a bit disjointed (sorry), but it really did make me wonder, which is more important.

1 comment:

  1. X, great question.

    Looking back at the season the Sox had last year (and this is taking a SHOULD make the playoffs team), they had very good pitching and a monster offense and only got the WC. Of course, they went on to win the WS.

    So what makes it?

    Pitching is huge. Where would the Sox or A's be without their pitching? I mean, even Contreras and El Dookie have performed. Hell, Hermanson has 32 saves. But look what happens when their pitching is bad...If they hadn't gotten out to such a huge lead, and played so well, so early, I doubt we'd even be talking about the White Sox. They may be the non-factor in the playoffs if Garland continues his recent "very hittable" trend...

    There is also a chemistry. I know, intangibles...But I think that is true...Yes, you obviously need talent, but the team has to get along...Hell, more than that...They have to be real close. I would say that is one reason the Yankees are in contention again. They were a laughing stock and then the guys egos kicked in...They may not like each other, but they found a common ground. They don't like bruised egos.

    Let's take a look at a team that found chemistry...The D-Rays. You look at that team now, and guys are high-fiving and looking to help each other out. They play unselfish baseball and they are beginning to win.

    Maybe, now that I am writing this, can one say that chemistry breeds confidence?

    The White Sox got confidence early and ran with it. The A's started with a very young pitching staff and had to wait for their confidence to develop to make their run.

    Going in the other direction, have you ever seen a team brimming with confidence to playing like a team that can't wait for the season to end? How about Baltimore? Texas?

    Sometimes it is just one injury that can do it. Maybe Toronto is a serious contender if Halladay doesn't break his leg. The Twins certainly lost a TON when Hunter went down. The O's had some injuries...none did them in...The last straw seemed to be Palmiero...

    This is a great question...I'll have to sit on it some more...